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The Work of Transformation (Romans 12:2)

Sermon on 24 March 2024 by Pastor Justin Chia



John 12:13 - ”took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!”“

Many people flocked into Jerusalem to see Jesus and hail Him as the King and save them from the enemy. They came before Jesus on the day of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and lay palm leaves. When most kings enter cities riding horses, it means that they are the people’s warrior king. They are kings that fight wars. But Jesus rode on a donkey. It signified lowliness and humbleness, and Jesus being the God of peace.

Isaiah 9:6 - ”For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.“

Zechariah 9:9 - ”Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.“

We want to focus on the work of transformation. Many Christians observe the passion week but miss the message on the Cross. Let us remember the powerful message on the Cross. The triumphant entry of Jesus is prophesied 500 years before Jesus was born.

Mark 11:1-11 - ”This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written: “Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’” This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!” One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”“

However, 2 chapters down, the same people who hailed Jesus as their king wanted Jesus to be crucified. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the glorious resurrection. Imagine our whole life as a book. Think about the number of times we sinned against God, men and ourselves. The book had written down all these instances. On the other hand, Jesus had no sin written in His book. Jesus took our book and placed it on His book, hung on the Cross, and declared us righteous. The wages of sin is death. Jesus paid that for us.  

2 Corinthians 5:21 - ”For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.“

‭‭3 Observations:

  1. Don’t miss the finished work on the Cross

People did not believe in the salvation of God in the Old Testament. Hence, Noah’s Ark only saved 8 souls. Many Christians only acknowledge the Cross but will not carry the Cross. They cannot live a victorious overcomer life. The cross signified Jesus’ body. He willingly went up to the Cross and threw His body as we are crucified with Him. Water baptism signifies that we died with Christ and rose with Him. We must reckon that we are dead to sin and are a born servant to God. We should bear the fruit of holiness into eternal life. The wisdom of the world will never see God as the message of the Cross is foolish for those people.

1 Peter 3:20 - ”those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.“

‭‭Hebrews 10:20 - ”By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.“

2. Don’t miss the victory link of the Cross

Speed reading of the Bible is not encouraged as important information may be overlooked. Some Christians participate in worldly Easter traditions and miss the victory link of the Cross. The transformation work of the cross in the middle. Focus on the victory found at the Cross. The Cross is the power and wisdom of God.

Luke 9:23 - ”Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.“

Hebrews 12:2 - ”We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.“

1 Corinthians 1:18 - ”The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.“

‭‭1 Corinthians 2:2 - ”For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.“

‭‭3. Don’t miss the love that is hung on the Cross

Love never fails. If you want to see God, you must love one another. This love is a kind of love that gives everything. The love that suffers every loss. The love that says, “Father, forgive them.” His love for us led Him to the Cross. What hung Him on the Cross? Not the 4 nails, but love. Walk the path of love through the transformative work in the cross. We celebrate Christ’s great love for us!

Hebrews 12:2 - ”We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.“

John 15:13 - ”There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.“

1 John 4:8 - ”But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.“

‭‭1 John 4:12 - ”No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.“

Luke 23:34 - ”Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.“

Romans 5:8 - ”But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.“

Colossians 1:13 - ”For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,“

John 3:16 - ”“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.“

2 Corinthians 5:21 - ”For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.“

Romans 6:23 - ”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.“

Every beginning and every ending needs a story in between to tie them together as one. The Cross is the perfect middle that ties Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday together. The finished work of the perfect middle is the Cross. Jesus came to take our place on the cross and has made a place for us in heaven.

John 19:30 - ”When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.“

John 14:1-6 - ”“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.“

Are you willing to be transformed through the complete finished work of the Cross? Walk victoriously as performers. Love in the newest of life.

Romans 12:2 - ”Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.“

The key to living a transformed life is subtraction + addition = transformation.

Revelation 3:20-22 - ”“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”“

Amen.

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